Family Uses Tragedy To Push For New Law

Posted at 10:55 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 23:55:27-04

A Cookeville family has used their infant daughter's death to propose a new law to save preemie babies.

Nearly every picture hanging from the walls of Tasey Bilbrey and Ulises Linares' home in Cookeville is of their daughter, Emma Isabel.

"She was our world," said Ulises. 

She was a beautiful baby girl who was a part of this world for only five months, born nine weeks prematurely Emma passed away in late April from SIDS.

"I don't know, I just can't accept that that's what it was because she was doing so good," Tasey said. 

"That was the worst day of our lives," caregiver Rhonda Roberts added. Roberts was looking after her that day, she put her down for an afternoon nap but Emma never woke up.

"When she left us that day she took a part of me with her," Rhonda said. 

At the time her parents nor Rhonda knew that Emma was at a much higher risk of dying from SIDS because she was born prematurely. They also didn't know there is equipment that would've monitored her heart rate and sounded an alarm when it got too low.  

"I wish we would've gotten it. I wish we would've known," Tasey said with tears in her eyes. 

To keep other parents from going through the same heartache they're working with lawmakers to create a bill that would require insurance companies to provide monitoring equipment be sent home with infants who are born prematurely. They believe it will help save the lives of other premature babies.

"We don't want to make that an option; we want to make it where it's mandatory that you come home with a monitor," Ulises said. 

While her time on this earth was short, Emma's impact may be long lasting.

"We know that we can't bring her back but hopefully with this law and hopefully with enough people supporting us, hopefully this can be the plan God had for taking her," said Rhonda. 

 "We don't want Emma to be just another statistic. We want her to make a difference," Ulises said. 

Emma's Law is now in draft form, they hope to have it on the House floor in October which also happens to be SIDS Awareness Month. However, the bill needs 50 sponsors before it can be discussed. 

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